To be accepted as a leader, women have to work harder than the average male. There are more than women in leadership positions across every industry in the world. The reason for having fewer women leaders is multi-fold and has to do with deep-seated patriarchy that has existed for centuries. The perception that men are better leaders than women (although researches has thumped that claim) doesn’t help either.
The barriers for women to enter leadership positions are high because of lifestyle choices, mindsets, and rigid structures. Gender bias and stereotypes mean that there are certain roles which are considered a man’s bastion, which reduces the chances of women getting the job.
In this article, we focus on some of the statistics that talk about women in leadership positions. The numbers that you will see don’t assure us of an equitable world, but the efforts to achieve the same has increased over the years.
According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report, for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted. As a result of this, the number of women in entry-level management positions pales in comparison to men. Women only held 38 percent of manager-level positions, while men held 62 percent. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, more than two million women are considering leaving the workforce. This will create a huge void, which means there will be fewer women in leadership positions.
DESA statistics say that the proportion of enterprises with a female CEO shrinks as its size grows. Over 26 percent of small businesses (two to 100 employees) have female CEOs, as compared to 20 percent of medium-sized enterprises (101-250 employees), and 16 percent of large enterprises (>250 employees).
28 percent - that’s the proportion of managerial positions held globally by women. The number was the same in 1995. For countries that are in Western Asia, Northern Africa, Central Asia and Southern Asia, the number is barely 13 percent.
Women are under-represented in management positions, especially at higher levels of decision-making. The International Labour Organization conducted a survey which revealed that only 48 percent of the companies had at least one woman in senior management positions, and only 31 percent had women in top executive positions.
According to a survey conducted by the World Bank, only 18 percent of the Chief Executive Officers are women.
The United Nations, in its 2020 edition of The World’s Women: Trends and Statistics says that no country has achieved gender equality. “Women are far from having an equal voice to men,” says Liu Zhenmin, Chief of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
In the top 200 companies in Australia, there are more male CEOs named Andrew than there are female CEOs.
In the Russell 3000 index (this index tracks the performance of the largest 3,000 publicly traded US companies), 33 percent of the companies have one or no women directors.
The problem why we are seeing such dismal statistics is that the biggest obstacle for women getting leadership positions is that their progress is halted at the entry-level itself.
One should note that in countries like Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, and Germany women leaders showed incredible courage, clarity, empathy, and conviction in the way they dealt with coronavirus this year.
There are many who still don’t believe in the gender pay gap. The UN’s report is a testament to the fact that even the most developed countries in the world still struggle to make it equitable for its women.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)